Lollar Pickups Blog

Welcome to the Lollar Pickups Blog, where we discuss in detail the finer points of Lollar Pickups and share the latest news from the Workbench.

“Bucker Bling” Available from Lollar Pickups

Check out the new addition to our selection of humbucker pickups.  We have added several new options for those of you who want to add a little more “bling.”  These are the same full sized Lollar humbucker pickups, built with an open top surround, plus the addition of a top inset of pickguard material.

They are available in all of our six-string humbucker models: our standard Imperial, our Low Wind, our High Wind, and our F-spaced humbucker pickups.

If you “just gotta have it” they are available on our web site.

You’ll find them on the Lollar Humbucker Pickups page.  Simply click on the style of humbucker you are interested in, then scroll down to the photos of pickup cover options.

Melody Maker Pickups Now Available from Lollar

We now have a P-90 replacement pickup and pickguard for original Melody Makers that requires no modification to the guitar. The original route in the guitar body is too small to fit a soapbar P-90 with a pickup cover but it is large enough to accommodate this modified shaped P-90 pickup.

Our pickup is made of vulcanized fiber just like a telecaster bridge pickup and is buffed to a semi gloss lightly textured finish with no pickup cover.

It is available for double cutaway early 60’s models with single pickup and for later double cutaway SG style with single pickup. The pickup comes in black only and pickguards are available in single ply black, white or parchment.

It’s as easy as removing the original pickguard along with all its attached electronics and dropping in the new pickup and pickgaurd. We can also prewire everything for you. All you have to do is solder the string ground wire to the back of a pot.

They are not yet on the web site, so you’ll need to call the shop at (206) 463-9838.

The Melody Maker replacement pickup measures 8.4K

Jazzmaster Pickups and the Fender Jazzmaster Guitar – Part 3

Part 3 — Understanding Jazzmaster Switching for Optimal Tone

One of the significant differences between Jazzmasters and other Fenders is that the main tone and volume controls use 1 Meg ohm pots. When set on 10, these pots do not roll off much signal.  The result is more high end and presence than you are use to hearing on an electric guitar. The extra treble can be annoying if you use an amp that can reproduce high end treble (like a blackface Fender amp). On Fender tweed amps that extra treble is nowhere near as noticeable.

So the trick to getting a good tone with the Lollar Jazzmaster pickup is to roll either the tone or volume down a click or two.  This will roll off the extreme high end. (I prefer using the volume)  The idea is to roll it a minimal amount—far enough to affect the tone level, but not too far to actually start hearing a volume drop.  If done in this way, the tone will change long before the volume is affected. Using the volume control this way will leave treble in reserve if you need it occasionally to cut through a mix. On tweed amps if you are pushing them pretty hard you can leave the volume on 10. Another option is to replace the volume and tone pots with a lower value pot. The 500K would probably have about the same tone as a one Meg pot on 8. I personally like the one Meg pots, so I have never tried other values to determine what works.

Everyone wants to know what the black switches on the upper bout do. There is one slider switch and two rollers. The slider switch defeats every pickup selection except the neck pickup alone. Once the slider switch is activated only the neck pickup functions, and the main 3-way switch for the pickups will no longer work. When the guitar is in the neck-only mode, the two rollers act as an additional volume and tone for the neck pickup. These allow you to preset a volume and tone level different than your main volume and tone controls. You can play normally with the main controls working… put it in the bridge pickup position with full volume for a solo then hit the slider switch and it drops you into the neck pickup with whatever volume and tone you have preset with the rollers. It’s an interesting idea but I have never found much use for it.

Thanks very much for reading our three part series on Jazzmaster style pickups and the Fender Jazzmaster guitar.  We hope it has been informative.  Follow this link to see more details on our Lollar Jazzmaster pickups.

Jazzmaster Pickups and the Fender Jazzmaster Guitar – Part 2

Part 2 — Idiosyncrasies, Overall Design, and Helpful Mods

People often comment about the overall brightness of Jazzmasters. The treble quality can have an aggressive, biting tone, but it’s due to the idiosyncrasies of the guitar design… not just the pickups. Some of the brightness is due to loss of the “body” of the tone (and sustain) because of the bridge design. Possibly part of the delegation of the Jazzmaster to surf music is its lack of sustain compared to a Strat or Tele. Tonal “body” and sustain are directly related to the bridge having a low angle of string break which robs sustain and fullness of tone. You either have to run very heavy string gauges, or change the geometry of the bridge and neck angle by shimming more angle into the neck and raising the bridge up to increase the angle of the string over the bridge to the tailpiece. The extra break angle exerts more downward force onto the bridge and helps maintain a solid connection between the strings and the bridge saddles. You can also use a lighter gauge string if you increase the downward force… otherwise a low angle of string break would cause the strings to pop out of the saddles if you get aggressive with the pick.

Another mod you can do (that is completely reversible) is to add a part called a buzz stop. This is a roller you attach between the bridge and the tailpiece that further increases the string break angle. I use one and highly recommend it if you play hard and use strings lighter than .012, or bend strings quite often.

One more idiosyncrasy with the Jazzmaster… the string ground on the early Jazzmasters and possibly others is poorly executed. The bridge fits loosely into a couple of ferrules which the ground wire is attached to. This is the same case in the telecaster model that came with the factory installed Bigsby. When the whammy is used, contact with the ground wire can be broken and the guitar can become noisy. A fix for this problem is to move the ground wire to the whammy bar / tailpiece combination.

Noise levels on a Jazzmaster are higher than on a Strat pickup due to its larger surface area. You can expect more 60 cycle hum than a typical Fender (more of a P90 level hum), but Jazzmasters were always RWRP sets, which reduced the hum when the pickups were used together.

Next week’s blog will discuss Jazzmaster switching, and getting optimal tone.

In the meantime, learn more about Lollar Jazzmaster Pickups on our web site.

7 String Strat Pickups Available

We have been making 7-string stratocaster pickups for some time, but have just now gotten around to adding them to our website. They are available in all four of our various flat pole models: Tweed, Blonde, Blackface and Special.  String spacing center-to-center of the outside poles is 2.39″ (6.1 cm); individual pole spacing center-to-center is 0.398 (1.01cm). Measurement center-to-center of the mounting holes is 3.45″ ( 8.8cm).Covers are available in black or white only. They are $90 each, and $270 for a set of three, plus shipping.

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